Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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America: Land that I love

LOOKING UP • JOE BAISDEN

Observing the world situation should prompt in all of us great gratitude for the privilege of living in the good old United States of America. Now and then someone makes a comparison with another world country, noting some alleged superior qualities elsewhere. So far, however there have been no reports of long lines at the borders of those leaving for the “greener pastures.”

Some years ago some friends of mine did sell out and move to another continent. Before long they came back.

Problems abound. Cynics assure us that we are headed for disaster, yet in many a heart there is hope for a better future. Why the hope?

Surveying the 237 year history of our country and noting the spirit of its founding should help us have hope. There has been pain and sacrifice all along the way, but there has always been a prevailing purpose motivating our people to meet every challenge.

As to defining that purpose, Adlai Stevenson once wrote, “We probably cannot improve on the definition offered by our Founding Fathers: ‘to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’”

When ripped apart by bitter strife and conflict in the midst of the historic years, our people chose to return to the purpose. Abraham Lincoln clarified the issue in a few words spoken on November 19, 1863, in the little Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. He saw the “great civil war, testing whether (our) nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

The nation did take note of those who “gave their last full measure of devotion,” and she did “highly resolve” that their death was not in vain. The living did dedicate themselves to the “unfinished work” and experienced a “new birth of freedom.” In Lincoln’s own words, this was to be accomplished “under God.”

At no time in our history has our country been without flaws. At all times there have been voices reminding us of our purpose and of our God. The work is always unfinished, and the flaws can be mended with the help of Almighty God. Katherine Lee Bates reminds us:

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,

Whose stern impassioned stress

A thoroughfare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine ev’ry flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self control,

Thy liberty in law.

The hope of America lies in a relationship in which we truly trust in God. We must not leave Him out.

May we continue to sing the words of Irving Berlin with a heartfelt and genuine appeal: “God bless America, land that I love.

Stand beside her and guide her.

Through the night with a light from above.”

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psa. 33:12